10 Tips for Writing a Film Brief

19th November 2013

One of the most important parts in commissioning a film is nailing the brief, but it’s the one thing that clients often overlook.

The brief is the starting point and is as much for the commissioner as the filmmaker. It’s a critical stage in the production process, helping everyone understand what we’re trying to achieve and why.

Like anything worth doing, it takes a bit of time, but if you get it right, you’ll save a lot of hours in the production process and that, after all, is where your budget goes.

Here’s a list of 10 key points to consider. Yes, they might seem obvious, but you’ll be amazed how many clients haven’t even thought about them.

1) PURPOSE – What’s your goal?
Promote, demonstrate, educate, raise awareness, document?

2) AUDIENCE – Who will be watching?
Fellow professionals, general public, young people, foreign nationals

3) CONTENT – What do you want to say?
Key messages, standpoint, information, successes

4) VOICE – How do you want to say it?
Interviewees, presenter, voiceover, observationally, reconstruction, animation & motion graphics

5) IMAGERY – What do you want to show?
People, places, projects, activities, case studies, stats, logos, urls

6) STYLE – How do you want to show it?
Formal, slick, loose, handheld, black and white, fast-paced

7) TONE – How do you want your audience to feel?
Happy, sad, inspired, informed, moved, angry

8) PLATFORM – Where will it be viewed?
Web-player, YouTube, plasma, big screen

9) PROMOTION – How will it be shared?
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, DVDs, USB sticks, Sendspace, Dropbox

10) BUDGET – What can you afford?
Number and whereabouts of locations & contributors, motion graphics, animation, celebrity presenter/voiceover